Observations placeholder

Dr William Sargant – Using extreme emotion to heal PTSD

Identifier

024403

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Dr William Sargant was born in Highgate, London, in 1907 and educated at Leys School and St John's College, Cambridge.  Up to 1972 he was Physician in Charge of the Department of Psychological Medicine at St Thomas's Hospital, London. He was Associate Secretary of the World Psychiatric Association and on the staff of the Maudsley Hospital, London for many years, He was also Registrar of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association, Rockefeller Fellow at Harvard University and Visiting Professor at Duke University. He was also the author of Battle for the Mind, and The Unquiet Mind.

We cannot vouch for the efficacy of this approach, remember that this is a useful observation, but not a scientific paper even though Dr Sargent was a qualified doctor.

The most useful aspect of his observations is that it shows that POSITIVE emotions work as well if not better.  Anyone traumatised has no need to relive their trauma, as long as the postive emotion enables them to release their anguish, it works as well if not better

A description of the experience

The Mind Possessed  - Dr William Sargant

We discovered initially in treating war-time patients, that battle neuroses could be helped by provoking intense anger or fear in the patient, leading to an emotional explosion and collapse.

But, we then found that what mattered in successful treatment was not necessarily the patient's vivid reliving of some traumatic real incident in his past, but the creation of a sufficiently powerful state of emotion about almost anything - a comparatively trivial real incident or even an incident which had never occurred at all. 

When the patient came round after the collapse, he might find that he felt much better, that he felt a sense of release and calm, that he felt what a revivalist would call 'changed' and 'saved'. We find that the technique of 'saving' people at revival meetings follows the same pattern.

The source of the experience

Scientist other

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References